Two new papers on language development and autism have been released, and both have good news for bilingual families in South Africa. There seems to be no evidence to support the idea that children should only be taught one language if they have autism.
The new studies found that bilingual children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) did as well on language tests as children who learnt only one language, and more so, they had larger English vocabularies than their English-only ASD peers.
Researchers from both new studies conclude that bilingualism is not harmful to children with autism, and that clinicians should not advise bilingual parents to teach their children with autism only one language.
To read the SFARI article Bilingualism Doesn’t Hinder Language by Virginia Hughes (with links to the articles by Hambly and Fombonne, and Peterson and colleagues) click here.